Hello Everyone! Yes, I am aware that it has only been two days since my last post (I post a new recipe every Wednesday night), but today, the 16th of April 2021 is a very special day because:
AMCARMEN’S KITCHEN TURNS SEVEN!
I know I’ve told this story countless times, every year I think if I’m not mistaken, but this is really more for my new followers and new friends I’ve made in the past year, or even just those who happen to stumble upon this post while searching for recipes or inspiration.
Long before I started Amcarmen’s Kitchen, I was already posting my kitchen adventures on my personal Facebook page when I left for university back in 2011. I started it as a way to document the food that I was eating, you know, being a 19 year old girl who left home with zero experience in cooking. Honestly, the food I was making, super cringe-worthy, but nevertheless, I’m glad I did that because it’s always great to look back and compare yourself to where you are now, especially during times like this. If you want to read more about my journey leading up to when I first started this blog, you can read all about it here: My Kitchen Journey.
Fast forward from 2011 to 2014, I started Amcarmen’s Kitchen exactly seven years ago today, on April 16 of 2014; it was a fine Wednesday afternoon during my fourth year of university. It was the Easter holidays and I had zero willpower to tackle the mountain of assignments I had to complete before the holidays were over. Instead, I decided to explore the world of wordpress, and before I knew it, Amcarmen’s Kitchen (formerly known then as Kitchen Headquarters) was born.
To celebrate today’s occasion, as per tradition on my blog every year, I’ve baked a cheesecake inspired by a very popular dessert here in the Philippines known as Halo-Halo. The word, directly translated actually means ‘mix-mix’ in English, and is essentially a mixture of, but not limited to, crushed ice, evaporated milk or condensed milk, and various ingredients including, ube, sweetened beans, coconut strips, sago, gulaman (agar), pinipig rice, boiled taro or soft yams in cubes, fruit slices, flan, and topped with a scoop of ube ice cream. Though popular all year round, it’s most especially enjoyed during the hot summer days.
I came across the idea of translating this dessert into a cheesecake about a year and a half ago during a work event. A few colleagues of mine and myself took a short break from event rehearsals and stumbled upon a coffee and cakes corner in the lobby of the hotel we were at. While they were ordering coffee, I spotted a Halo-Halo Cheesecake on their cake shelf and was immediately wowed by such an ingenious idea! I unfortunately did not order a slice at that time, only because I was contemplating on whether I should, or shouldn’t (it was a bit pricey think), but when I finally made the decision to order a slice, on a different day, the day of the actual event, they didn’t have any left, or didn’t make a batch that day. So as Amcarmen’s Kitchen’s anniversary drew near, I knew that that was the cake that I was going to make for this special occasion!
PREP TIME 15 MINS | COOKING TIME 1 HOUR 20 MINS | SERVES 8-10
For the cheesecake mixture
- 675g (3 packs) cream cheese, softened
- 250ml all purpose cream, at room temperature
- 3 large free-range eggs, at room temperature
- 3/4 cup white granulated sugar
- 3 tbsp ube jam
- 1 tsp ube extract
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
For the crumb base
- 200g Lotus Biscoff biscuits, crushed
- 75g unsalted butter, melted
- 1/2 tsp salt
For the toppings
- Fresh coconut meat strips
- Leche flan
- Nata de coco, red and green
- Pinipig, lightly toasted
- Sweetened red beans
- Sweetened saba bananas
- Sweetened white beans
- Preheat oven to 130C (250F or gas mark 1).
- Prepare your spring-form pan (about 8” in diameter) and line the bottom and inside with parchment paper, and the outer with aluminium foil. Lightly grease the bottom and sides with a touch of unsalted butter.
- Crumb Base: Add the crushed Lotus Biscoff biscuits, salt, and melted butter together in a small mixing bowl. Mix together until well combined.
- Press the crumb into the base of your prepared spring-form pan. Set aside in the fridge for about 15 minutes to set while you prepare your cheesecake mixture.
- Cheesecake Mixture: Using an electric mixer fitted with a beater attachment, beat, on medium speed, the cream cheese and sugar together in a large bowl until smooth.
- With the mixer running, add in the eggs, all purpose cream, and vanilla extract. Mix for a further 2 minutes.
- Separate one third of the mixture into another mixing bowl. Add the ube jam and ube extract to the cheesecake mixture and slowly beat until combined.
- Pour the ube cheesecake mixture into the prepared spring-form pan, evenly covering the biscuit base. Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes, or until just set.
- Once set, remove from the oven and then pour the remaining cheesecake mixture into the spring-form pan. Continue to bake in the oven for another 45 – 50 minutes, or until set.
- Remove from the oven and let it cool down completely in its pan before placing it into the refrigerator overnight.
- Assemble: Decorate as you wish and serve chilled. Enjoy!
As always, before I end tonight’s post, I just want to say a special thank you to my Mom. She was the one who patiently taught me how to cook my favourite dishes when I was growing up. She was my #1 supporter. I lost her in September 2019 due to a fatal stroke which was caused by a sudden rupture of a vein in her brain, but before all that she had underlying illnesses such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and chronic kidney disease. One of the main reasons why I drastically cut out meat such as beef and pork from my diet and started eating healthier (as reflected in my blog for the past 2 years). Thank you Mama for passing down your knowledge and love for food on to me. I know you’re proudly watching from above. I love you.
Lastly, next to my Mom is of course, my very supportive boyfriend. Ever since the day we met, you’ve been proudly sharing my recipes for your family and friends to see. And for that, thank you for your continuous encouragement and for motivating me to continue doing what I love to do! I love you.
Stay tuned tomorrow as I have another special post to share with you all!
– Ally xx